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thekitchenman: The reliable Old Marina cheeseburger

This week thekitchenman takes us to a familiar local spot for a simple but delicious bite

I made my way back to Puslinch Lake to say howdy to friends King and Donna, the first owners of the Marina Restaurant until the restaurant fire totally destroyed the structure in 2005 and rebuilt again in 2007.

It was then sold and the new owners rebuilt the restaurant making it bigger with more seating and a larger patio space. It enjoyed quite a following for the lake residents and city folk enjoying the tasty pub food and the spectacular waterfront views.

It's with sad news that recently a second devastating summer fire 15 years later in July 2022 destroyed the eatery again giving the lake community an economic blow. It was levelled to charred ruins ending this popular spot being a favourite to entertain friends.

There has been lots of talk about its history and the future plans of having a new eatery built soon. 

So many folks have endless stories and the six degrees of personal connections to Puslinch Lake.

Back in the 1920's Guelph needed a dance hall and built one at Puslinch Lake. Every summer they all came to dance under the stars, listening and dancing to the big band sounds of Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians or the Oscar Peterson Trio and many more touring dance bands of that era.

The Mineral Baths at Kress Hotel and the Preston Springs Garden Hotel used the lake as a retreat resort for hotel guests shuttling them from Preston on The Grand River Lake Erie Railroad to the stop in Puslinch making it the perfect one day at the beach and pavilion. It soon became a small community of trailers and cottages as the many families would rent or have friends that built a permanent cottage. Fishing, swimming and boating was absolutely perfect and even in the winter ice fishing and cross-country skiing was very popular as is snowmobiling today.

Being a kid growing up in Hespeler, Puslinch Lake was where most of my summers were spent swimming, fishing and eating french fries and hot dogs. Barbers Beach had an arcade with a picnic area on the beach. They had rides like 'Empire Railroads Mosquito Express Lake Excursion' and the 'Miss Barbara Lake Cruise''. Teen dances with local bands like the Shand-a-leers and Copper Penny kept the action on full throttle fun.

The McClintock family were the hosts to Team Canada Ski School Water Skiing Champions. Watching the practice jumps by the trick skiers was the show one could enjoy along with a nibble and a nip from the wrap-around patio at the Old Marina Restaurant. It was the place to go with family and visiting friends to enjoy a fun day outdoors.

One of the most memorable menu items was the Puslinch burger with the signature crispy brim of cheese. This burger was in a league of its own, Just ask anyone of the regulars making the servers job a familiar routine. The chicken wings, hand cut fries and gravy were also popular pub fare. I've lost count on the many visits sitting on the patio at the Marina Restaurant, good food, awesome lake views and romantic night time sunsets.

Hopefully a new restaurant will soon fill the void that was such a treat we all once enjoyed to the max.

Here are the Puslinch burger ingredients:    

- 70 per cent ground chuck beef burger mixed with 30 per cent ground pork.

- Simple seasonings used are salt, pepper, garlic powder mixed and packed lightly forming a 10 ounce patty. 

- On a well-seasoned flat top grill fry the patty until golden brown and flip over.

- Add a heaping handful of a cheddar and brick cheese blend to the burger and place a domed pie plate over top. While the patty is browning and the cheese is melting, grill an egg burger bun and slice the tomatoes, pickle onions with some crisp lettuce for the toppings. The house relishes mayo and mustard is your choice.

- Lift off the pie plate and you should have a perfectly grilled burger with a halo of crispy brown cheese to make that bun come to life.

Some Hand Cut Fries with good beef bone gravy makes this a perfect alfresco lunch.

Enjoy the flavours and hopefully fingers crossed, a new restaurant will be there in the near future. 

So. Let's Eat!